Meet the entrepreneur who uses plastic and rubber waste to build affordable housing

By Think Change India|4th Jul 2016
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Growing up in Bogota, Colombia, studying both Architecture and Social Entrepreneurship, Oscar Andres Mendez became aware of the serious problem caused by plastic waste in Latin America. He also realised the housing deficit of 45 per cent in each of the Latin American countries. And that is why he decided to set up his company Conceptos Plastics, which is a sustainable construction company that directly tackles both these issues. Conceptos Plásticos transforms plastic and rubber waste into an alternative construction material for housing, shelters and classrooms.

Image: The Venture
Image: The Venture

Fire and earthquake resistant, the Lego-style building blocks provide cheap housing solutions that are simple to assemble. Communities and families able to construct their own homes after a short training session. By recycling plastic to build homes, plastic is prevented from going to landfills thereby reducing water and energy consumption-also CO2 emissions.

Talking to The Venture, Oscar explains that his business contributes in reducing poverty, mitigating the environmental risks in informal settlements, alongside promoting sustainable construction. In a broader context, the scalable business has a long-term positive effect on climate change, economic growth and sustainable development.

Oscar said, “The business has clear social, environmental and economic impacts. We encourage social progress within vulnerable communities by providing them with decent housing solutions. Our solutions are easy to assemble and come with instructions, which means we are also empowering people to literally play a part in the rebuilding of their communities.”

The economic impact of Oscar’s business is evident through the direct and indirect employment of people within communities. Also through the fact that they are educating people about the benefits of recycling.

Oscar grew up in Bogota. From an early age, he loved the architecture in the city, as well as the values taught in school. His parents played a huge role in shaping his business. They taught him that there should always be equality and opportunities for all. Oscar still lives in Bogota.


Read More – Meet a startup turning plastic waste into affordable housing


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